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Candidacy building comes before essay writing

October 17 2014 By The MBA Exchange
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Eager MBA applicants can’t wait to start writing their essays! With exciting stories flashing through their heads — and feeling the pressure of approaching deadlines — they want to get their thoughts down on paper as soon as possible. Although compelling, authentic essays are essential to admission success, it can be a big mistake to begin writing them too early in the campaign.

There’s serious developmental work that needs to be done before an applicant should start to describe his or her profile. That’s why The MBA Exchange advises clients to begin by analyzing and optimizing the underlying candidacy. Even if there are just a few months — or even a few weeks — before the application deadline, there is still time to examine your qualifications and bolster your value proposition.

So, MBA applicants, take a step back from your essays to first answer the following questions:

1. What are the major accomplishments and strengths of your professional, academic and personal history? What makes them distinctive?

2. What are the mistakes, limitations and vulnerabilities that keep your candidacy from being more competitive? What are the circumstances behind these limitations?

3. What are the post-MBA career goals that will convince business schools that you can and will make a difference and make them proud?

4. What does your targeted school value most in the applicants they admit? What can you say or do that could bridge the gap between those candidacies and yours?

5. What can you do before submitting your application that would leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses to optimize your candidacy?

By addressing such questions — candidly and honestly — you can improve your profile and help identify the strongest possible topics and examples to be featured in essays.

So, before you jump in and start writing essays, do some serious soul searching. The quality and impact can soar if you begin with introspection and improvement. The MBA Exchange is here to help, starting with a free, confidential evaluation of your candidacy.